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Q&A: An employee who recently quit made several allegations including an instance of sexual harassment. How should we respond … ?

Question:

An employee who recently quit made several allegations about the general manager, including an instance of sexual harassment. How should we respond to these complaints since the employee no longer works here?

Answer from Laura:

Even though the employee has left the organization, I recommend conducting an investigation into the allegations and taking disciplinary action against the alleged harasser if appropriate. Failing to look into these concerns can invite risk, especially if there are later complaints against the same individual.

When an employee resigns, it’s not uncommon for them to share an assortment of complaints on their way out the door. You should sift through and determine whether any of them are related to unlawful activity or safety concerns. These claims are serious enough to warrant an investigation.

Other complaints—such as those about management style, favoritism, or violation of less important company policies—may be worth examining, but they likely don’t trigger a duty to investigate in the same way that claims of unlawful activity do. These less risk-inducing claims can be pursued at your discretion.

Picture of Brody, PHR, SHRM-CP

Brody, PHR, SHRM-CP

Brody has over 13 years experience in HR & Customer Service, supporting client companies within the small and medium size markets. He has a focus on identifying opportunities for growth and evolution within his client companies and strives to make his clients better HR practitioners. His past personal involvement with a small non-profit start up has created a special sense of devotion to supporting businesses that share a values based social responsibility. Brody holds dual HR certifications from the HR Certification Institute as well as the Society for Human Resource Management.

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HR Girlfriends™ is a Human Resources networking organization dedicated to advancing the practice and culture of people empowerment. Our team of Girlfriends consult, train, educate, develop, share, promote, and advocate for solutions in the field of human resource management.

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